Study in the Department of Politics, International Relations and Human Rights

Why politics, international relations and human rights

We live in a fast-moving and increasingly interconnected world where money and financial transactions can move across borders and jurisdictions almost instantaneously, cultural products are transported globally, and information and ideas rapidly spread through social networks. Although our social and political spaces are economically open to the world, they remain closed from the point of view of citizenship and political rights. Just think of the thousands of migrants and asylum seekers who are trying to come from Africa across into Europe, the 65.6 million displaced people who have been forced from home by wars, natural disasters or economic conditions, the almost 1 billion urban poor who live in global slums with no access to basic needs.

The complexity of our contemporary world means that politics can no longer be regarded and studied as a mere national issue, and that human rights and security problems are both domestic and global in scope, as tragically shown by the emergence of transnational terrorism, the last global financial crisis and the current migration flow.

Our programmes have been specifically designed to provide you with the critical and analytical skills to make sense of global politics and your place in the contemporary world. This is because we are committed to teaching and studying politics, international relations and human rights from a unique pedagogical and practical angle:

  • We cultivate a focused and student-centred approach to teaching and practising global politics and human rights;
  • We prepare our students for active citizenship and careers committed to advancing social justice and securing human rights in NGOs, international organizations, and diplomacy;
  • We aim to train the next generation of activists and practitioners in the area of human rights, international relations and social justice;
  • We represent a global learning community of staff, students, alumni and partners that is cosmopolitan, inclusive, and accepting of difference.

Undergraduate courses

Our programmes rest on two key pillars - international relations in a global context, and human rights - both informed by the overarching principle of social justice. The programmes have a distinctively global outlook based on the idea that political developments at the most local level are connected to broader global contexts and dynamics. This outlook runs throughout all aspects of our teaching and embraces the diverse origins of our staff, our student community and the location of Kingston University in one of the world's most significant global cities.

What distinguishes the global politics, international relations and human rights programmes at Kingston is the student-centred and interdisciplinary approach to teaching and practising the politics of human rights and social justice, and our commitment to prepare our students for active citizenship and work in international organizations and NGOs.

Employability is embedded in our curriculum, and key skills will be developed throughout your time with us. Presentation skills, teamwork and project management skills are developed in our modules, and you will be encouraged, at an early stage, to reflect on your current experience and future development needs.

Postgraduate courses

Our portfolio of courses is based on a combination of cutting-edge research and real-life experience of practitioners from the fields of human rights, international relations and conflict studies. Our expertise enables us to bring the most up-to date academic research and practice into our teaching rooms, thus providing students with the intellectual skills to analyse contemporary international affairs.

Our courses have drawn students from more than 45 countries, and from a broad range of academic and cultural backgrounds. Some have come straight from undergraduate studies; others have worked in the private or public sector and are seeking to change career, boost their job prospects or enhance their chances of promotion. This diversity reflects our commitment to inclusion and world-class teaching.

Personal tutor scheme

All students are allocated a personal tutor in induction week, with whom they meet on a weekly basis in the first year. Your personal tutor will provide advice, guidance and support throughout your three years of study and on your future path after university. Tutors are approachable and readily available for discussion and consultation during the academic year.

Department of Politics, International Relations and Human Rights